ARTICLE: Indo-MIM: A giant in Metal Injection Moulding expands to build on strong international growth
March 11, 2016
It is just under twenty years since Indo-US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd., better known by its abbreviated name Indo-MIM, was established in Bangalore, India. Within this short period of time the company has evolved into one of the world’s largest MIM producers.
Dr. Georg Schlieper visited Indo-MIM for PIM International to discover the secret behind this remarkable expansion and the company’s plans for maintaining this rapid growth in the future.
Indo-MIM was established in 1997 in Bangalore, Karnataka, Southern India. The company’s first plant was established on the Hoskote Industrial Estate on the outskirts of the city and this site continues to this day as the headquarters of Indo-MIM. A second plant, located in Doddaballapur, is a thirty minute drive from Hoskote. Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru since 2014, has a population of eight million people and is commonly referred to as the Silicon Valley of India. Many leading global IT companies have operations here, however the existence of a metalworking company in this environment is rather unusual. Despite many early challenges the company prospered and grew to become one of the world’s largest MIM operations.
The sheer size of Indo-MIM is impressive. Hoskote and Doddaballapur together employ 2,500 people. Efficient tool shops equipped with the latest machine tools produce the tooling for the thirty or more new parts that are developed each month, as well as the repair and replacement of existing tools. Around 100 injection moulding machines are in service and numerous sintering furnaces, both batch and continuous, are installed. A huge variety of secondary operations is also performed at the two sites, including superfinishing. The facilities operate day and night in three shifts, seven days a week, fifty weeks a year, generating annual sales of more than US$100 million.
Indo-MIM’s breathtaking rise is based on the coincidence of several factors. To start with, the company was certainly established at the right time and in the right place. The time was right because MIM technology was booming in the late 1990s, reflecting its growing reputation as a viable manufacturing technology. A joint venture with Precision Castparts Corp – Advanced Forming Technologies (PCC-AFT) gave the young company a sound technology base and access to the crucial US market.
Krishna Chivukula Sr., the first President of Indo-MIM, took over complete ownership from PCC-AFT in 2001. He encouraged his core team to bring the technology and sales figures forward and gave them freedom to implement their own ideas. Most of this core team is still in office, although Krishna Chivukula Sr. has long since handed leadership over to his son Krishna Jr., a smart, sociable businessman with a US education who is known by everybody as KJ (Fig. 2).
Indo-MIM is a truly global company. Being originally a joint venture with a US business, Indo-MIM had strong links with the North American MIM market from the start. Soon after the Chivukla family took control of the company, a sales office was opened in Princeton, New Jersey. Over the years further sales offices staffed with company employees have been opened in Stuttgart, Taiwan and Shanghai.
Indo-MIM recently announced that a US manufacturing operation will be established in San Antonio, Texas, later this year. This move is put down to the growth of the US market, which Indo-MIM believes justifies a new domestic operation. When the new plant opens, US customers will have two independent Indo-MIM supply sources, a domestic supplier and a supplier from overseas. Engineering and toolmaking will, however, remain in India. Various different locations for the new plant were examined over an eighteen month period before San Antonio was selected. It is anticipated that the factory will employ 300 people within five years.
Indo-MIM’s business strategy
Besides the strong technological foundation and the necessary financial resources for investments, Indo-MIM’s business strategy is a major factor behind its soaring success. Indo-MIM has adopted a policy of being a total solution provider to its customers. This is accomplished by an Innovation and Value unit. “We liaise closely with the customer and help their engineers learn how to design for MIM,” KJ told PIM International. “The customer’s problems are analysed and, in close cooperation with them, the best MIM design solutions are found.” From the final drawings a 3D model is generated, then prototypes are manufactured and tested before the tooling for mass production is made. A fast reaction to customer enquiries and short timescales for the manufacturing of prototypes and tooling are considered to be of prime importance for a strong position in the MIM market…
To read the full article, free of charge, download the March 2016 issue of PIM International